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Some snippets about David Lloyd George

January 10, 2010 4:23 PM

David Lloyd George at the microphone - here recalled in snippets from the recent news

There have a few stories in the press recently mentioning David Lloyd George.

In an article published on 5 January in the Wall Street Journal, Jan Morris writes in celebration of graffiti (admittedly not everyone's favourite popular art form). She recalls that on the top of the parapet of the old bridge over the river Dwyfor, in the top left corner of Wales where she lives, a schoolboy named David Lloyd George long ago laboriously carved his initials-D.LL.G. He must have taken hours to cut the letters, on his way to and from school perhaps but was, she says, clearly cocking a snook at the local Establishment. Perhaps if he had been nothing more than a successful local solicitor the carving would have been removed but since he grew up to be Prime Minister of Great Britain and one of the most powerful men on earth, his graffito remains there to this day.

In the Independent newspaper on 10 January, Peter Corrigan writes that Lloyd George was a keen golfer. He certainly had a house built overlooking the golf course at Walton Heath in Surrey. That was the house that Emmeline Pankhurst tried to blow up as a gesture in the cause of women's suffrage. Corrigan reveals that LG was a member of the Parliamentary Golf Society and participated in its tournaments. However he never won it. Andrew Bonar Law, LG's Coalition government partner and the man who succeeded as prime minister when the Coalition fell, did manage to win the title.

The publication of the New Year's Honours List brought recollections of Maundy Gregory, the man Lloyd George used as a go-between to identify those who wanted peerages or knighthoods and were willing to pay for the privilege. In the Telegraph, Harry de Quetteville reports that Gregory offered gongs from his office at 38 Parliament Square; the going rate was £10,000 for a knighthood and £40,000 for a baronetcy. However, the example was set by 19th century donor who wrote the Tories a cheque for £50,000 but signed it with his surname alone, so that it could only be cashed once he had been made a lord. So LG did not start it. He just perfected the practice.

Finally in Danny Finkelstein's online blog in the Times of 17 December, he reproduces from You Tube footage of every prime minister since Lloyd George. The film about LG is from newsreel and shows him at the King's Theatre, Hammersmith making a presentation to Sir Henry Lytton the actor to commemorate Lytton's 50 years on stage and his 50th wedding anniversary in the same event. The sound is a bit variable and much of the clip is of Lytton's response but you can view it and the other footage of former prime ministers at http://timesonline.typepad.com/comment/2009/12/pm-speeches.html